Volunteering in Jamaica with Projects Abroad
Volunteering in Jamaica is a unique way to experience the real Jamaica, a world away from the tourist hype. Projects are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, whether you are a volunteer on a gap year, a summer placement, or a career break.
As a volunteer with Projects Abroad in Jamaica you will have the chance to make a real difference on various exciting projects including Agriculture & Farming, Teaching, Care, Sports, Medicine & Healthcare and Community projects. You will live with a Jamaican host family who will provide you the very best Jamaican hospitality and you will find you rapidly integrate into the local community.
Where we are Based in Jamaica
Projects Abroad Jamaica is based in the university town of Mandeville. We also have projects in St. Elizabeth (Accompong, Black River and Santa Cruz). Mandeville is situated inland at a cooler altitude of about 2000ft, 100km west of Kingston it is removed from the main tourist trail. The town is the capital of the Parish of Manchester and retains an English ‘village’ feel with its grassy town square and local parish church. However, there are areas in and around Mandeville which are home to poorer communities, where there is a real need for help.
St. Elizabeth is the neighbouring parish to Manchester, approximately forty five minutes from Mandeville. It offers a different feel; a very natural, rustic and pristine atmosphere. Projects are located in Black River, Accompong and Santa Cruz where much help is needed in these poorer communities.
General Information on Jamaica
The Caribbean island of Jamaica is well known for its idyllic beaches, turquoise seas and romantic sunsets, however beyond the tourist brochure façade is a country of laid-back welcoming people, smiling children and a lush mountainous interior well worth exploring.
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and was described by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century as the ‘fairest land my eyes have ever seen’. Plenty of visitors today would still agree and tourism is a vital source of income for the island. However, many visitors who find time to venture off the cruise ships do not make it beyond one or two coastal towns and often miss out on one of Jamaica’s biggest assets - its incredible mix of people.
Jamaica’s rich history and cultural heritage is an intriguing mix of Arawak Indians, infamous pirates, Spanish settlers, British naval explorers and slaves yearning for freedom. Today, people of African descent make up just over 75% of the 2.8 million population.
Travel and Tourism in Jamaica
At the weekends, volunteers in Jamaica are spoilt for choice in terms of travel opportunities. The Blue Mountains, YS Falls, Dunn’s River Falls, the Bob Marley Museum, Outameni Experience and Treasure Beach are popular weekend or day trips from Mandeville.
There are many paradise beaches awaiting you in places like Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay and Port Antonio. Water sports and activities like diving, snorkelling, river tubing and rafting are popular around the entire coast. You can also choose to ‘chill’ in a hammock and sample a classic Jamaican rum cocktail.
No experience of Jamaica is complete without experiencing the vibrant music scene. Strains of Jamaica’s most famous citizen, Bob Marley will undoubtedly follow you everywhere on the island and spectacular music festivals take place throughout the year.
Projects available in Jamaica
Work with a cooperative farming association promoting protected agriculture by farming in greenhouses.
You will help build and repair the homes of people generally in need of assistance and those who have been affected by hurricanes. Work may include minor repairs, mixing mortar and laying blocks.
Work with children in an orphanage, special-needs school or volunteer in a home for the elderly. As a volunteer you are providing extra friendship and support.
Work on a project that directly addresses the social needs of children in Jamaica, as well as utilising the skills of volunteers in related fields.
Work with Jamaica's largest HIV/AIDS NGO in Montego Bay, helping to support people living with HIV or AIDS and running vital awareness programmes about the disease.
Live with a traditional Maroon community in Jamaica. The Jamaican Maroons were runaway slaves who fought the British during the 18th century. Working alongside members of the Maroon community you will help with a wide variety of tasks from teaching reading to cultural preservation projects.
Teach music appreciation and musical instruments including the keyboard, guitar, violin, flute and drums to children and teenagers.
This project designs programmes that address individual and community resilience to disasters, especially amongst the most vulnerable sectors of society.
Volunteer in Jamaica and gain an insight into the workings of the media in a new cultural and political setting.
Work alongside the Human Rights Programme Officer by helping to plan, coordinate and deliver Child Rights and Human Rights presentations.
On this Medical Elective placement you may see many cases of conditions you would not normally see in your home country. You can spend time in both the in-patient and out-patient departments.
Work alongside local staff in the dentistry unit of the Mandeville Comprehensive Health Department. You will shadow qualified dentists and learn more about the treatment of many dental problems.
Volunteer on a medical placement in Jamaica and work in a variety of departments in a local hospital or work at a health centre focussing on adolescent health, child health and family planning.
Jamaica is a hotbed of athletic talent and the local children are passionate about sport. Volunteer at a school in Mandeville and help teach children sports such as football, cricket, basketball and athletics.
Volunteer as an English teacher in the university town of Mandeville. You can work in a primary school or on an adult literacy programme. The students have a real desire to learn English.
Teach IT skills and social media like facebook and twitter in primary and junior high schools in and around Mandeville.
Animal Care Animal Care
Volunteer at an animal rescue shelter in Ocho Rios and help provide treatment and care for dogs and cats. You will help with feeding, cleaning and administering treatment.
Take part in an intensive stand-alone Patois language course or sign up for language tuition alongside your regular placement.
Short-term specials for 16 to 19 year olds available in Jamaica
Get involved with a summer camp for disadvantaged children and help foster social development and cultural exchange. You can help with activities such as arts and crafts, quizzes, photography, drama, dance, and more.
Volunteers are needed in Jamaica to work on a Building Short-term Special project to assist in constructing a new bathroom facility for the students and staff of Old England Primary School. You will be engaged in installing partition blocks, mixing cement, rendering walls, and more.
In hospitals and clinics in Jamaica, you learn about various health conditions and treatments by observing health care professionals. You will spend time in a variety of departments, such as paediatrics and x-ray.
Projects for professionals available in Jamaica
Qualified social workers can volunteer either at the Child Development Agency (CDA) or the Social Intervention project (SIGHT-C). Both of these projects work with local families and children who are faced with social problems.
A lack of financial and human resources means Jamaican doctors struggle to meet patient demand. As a qualified volunteer doctor you will be based in a hospital in Mandeville.
Volunteers on the Dentistry project will work in rural communities where the dental clinics are set up in school rooms, church halls or community centres.
Jamaican hospitals often lack specialist staff in key areas such as midwifery. As a Projects Abroad PRO volunteer you can help by assisting local staff caring for mothers and babies.
This voluntary nursing project helps treat patients in a hospital in Mandeville. As the country has a lack of resources and specialist staff volunteer help is greatly needed.
As a Project Abroad PRO volunteer on this project you will help treat patients in a hospital in Mandeville. Many local staff are overworked in Jamaica which is why professional volunteer help is needed.
As a journalist, experienced in photography, videography or video production, you have the opportunity to work at a local television station in Jamaica.
As a skilled volunteer on this project you will be helping to teach Jamaican adults to read and write as part of a community literacy initiative.